There are various methods that can be used to open an electricity account in France, depending on the circumstances of your house purchase.
It also depends on whether you propose to use the state electricity supplier EDF, or a private supplier. We shall assume for the purpose of these notes that you will be using EDF. You would be well advised to do so, at least until you have settled in the area and you know your way around (although there are a few areas in France where EDF is not actually the electricity supplier).
When you have completed the purchase of your French property you should ask the notaire for a certificate of purchase, called an attestation, which you can use to gain access to public services for the property. It can also be used to help with opening a French bank account.
If the former owner has already vacated the property and terminated their account with EDF then you should visit the local office of EDF with your attestation and open an account.
If you cannot visit the local office you can make application for a supply over the internet.
To do so on-line you will need to register with EDF at creation-espace-client.
EDF also offer an English speaking service. Their contact details can be found at Contact Form. An English speaking advisor can be contacted by telephone on 0033-(0)9 69 36 63 83.
You will need to sign a supply contract with EDF, who should arrange for a meter reading to be carried out within 48 hours, following which you will be able to obtain a supply.
Alternatively, along with the former owner, you can prepare a joint letter for signature stating the electricity meter reading, and send it to the EDF. You should enclose a copy of the attestation, if at all possible.
If it is a second home, then you will need to notify EDF of the address where bills should be sent, if it is not to be the address in France.
One of the peculiarities of French electricity supply is that you can choose the amount of power you want to come into the property, from 3KVA to 34KVA, although it will depend on the type of tariff you have elected to choose.
It may well be the case that the level of the Kilowatt supply of the previous owner is higher or lower than your own needs. You need to establish with the owner and/or EDF the level of the supply and decide whether it will meet your requirements.
The level of supply and current tariff arrangements are stated on the electricity bill, which the current owner should be able to provide to you.
If you have few electrical items you would probably be able to manage with 3KVA, but a safe bet for a modern family household would be 6KVA, although you would probably need more if you have full electric central heating.
Alternatively, you may want to start on the lowest supply and, if the supply trips out when you are using different electrical appliances in the house, upgrade to a higher supply.
The voltage supply level in France is 230v, although in rural areas in particular do not be surprised if there are voltage variations during the day!
Back: Index - French Public Utilities